When I stopped in on a friend this summer, I couldn’t help but notice her kitchen counter was covered with drying caramel corn. I mean, I tried not to notice (because I’m trying to lose weight, dagnabbit!), but caramel corn is just not a thing I can ignore. I looked closer at it, and then got really close.
“Where in the world did you find popcorn that pops up so large?” I asked.
Her boyfriend piped up. “It’s not popcorn–I used puffed corn.”
I’m pretty sure an exclamation mark went off over my head. I loved this idea. He urged me to try it and as soon as I did, I knew I had to make some. He didn’t share his recipe but I just went with the recipe I always use, omitting the salt, halving it and using the puffed corn instead of popcorn. It was a hit at a family reunion and got devoured pretty quickly.
While I prefer caramel corn made with real popcorn, this is more of a snacky treat that is particularly appealing to kids and teens. It has a light coating of caramel and has a nice, salty taste and airy, crispy crunch from the puffed corn. That salty-sweet-puffy crunch can get pretty addicting! Try it out at a children’s Halloween party or pass it out to guests at a holiday party. Just try not to nibble on it while it’s cooling or you’ll have to make a second batch! I may or may not know this from experience.
1 (8 oz) bag butter flavored puffed corn
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Pour puffed corn into a large bowl. Melt butter over medium heat, then stir in brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Stir well. Pour over the puffed corn and stir to coat well. Bake in a roaster or two jelly roll pans for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to dry, separating pieces with a silicon spatula as you go. Serve once cool or store in an airtight container.
Recipe by Veronica Miller, inspired by Gary R.